Laura loves her daughter more than anything in the world.
But nine-year-old daughter Autumn is being bullied. Laura feels helpless.
When Autumn fails to return home from school one day, Laura goes looking for her. She finds a crowd of older children taunting her little girl.
In the heat of the moment, Laura makes a terrible choice. A choice that will have devastating consequences for her and her daughter...
What did I think?
I was so impressed with this book; I don't think I have ever experienced such a broad spectrum of emotions in one book. It seemed to encompass every emotion; fear, anger, sympathy, dread, contempt, empathy, embarrassment, hatred, vulnerability and guilt, to name but a few.
Alternating between chapters from the perspectives of Laura (mum) and Autumn (daughter) we read the feelings of a child being bullied and a mum who will do anything to protect her daughter, even if that means going a step too far. Laura has to live with the consequences of her actions and the resulting frosty reception from the school gate crowd. My heart really went out to her as the parents turned into a gang who were actually bullying Laura themselves.
As the book progressed, I felt an increasing level of hatred towards Levi, who was bullying Autumn. There was absolutely no reason for him to pick on her and I was positively raging when the bullying reached social media. Levi's father didn't help by taking his son's side and turning the other parents against Laura. I didn't think I would feel anything but contempt for Levi, but Sanjida Kay managed to cleverly turn my emotions around in a way that I seriously didn't expect.
It was actually a sobering read as I realised that appearances can be deceptive and nothing is ever quite what it seems. I have no time for bullies but I can now see that perhaps there is an underlying reason for their actions.
It's certainly an emotional rollercoaster and an outstanding debut from Sanjida Kay that is sure to be a big hit in 2016.
I received this book from the publisher, Corvus, in exchange for an honest review.